Written by Stephanie Dykema, Ph.D.
If you’re like most women I know and work with you’re way more critical of yourself than you are towards other people. We have a harsh voice running in our minds all day long: “why did I say that?” … “I really should lose weight” … “I’m so stupid and can’t do anything right”.
Instead of judging yourself, try self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as having the same kindness and understanding towards yourself that you have towards others when they are having a difficult time.
When you fail at something or notice something you don’t like about yourself, ask yourself: What would I say to a friend in this situation? You’ll probably notice that your response to a friend is much more gentle than what you’d say to yourself. Self-compassion is letting go of criticism and judgement of ourselves and giving ourselves kindness and gentleness.
In other words, self-compassion is being an ally with yourself rather than your own worst enemy.
Next time you feel embarrassed or like a failure, imagine what it would be like to say to yourself: “I’m human, we’re all human, everyone struggles and make mistakes” or “This really sucks, I feel terrible.. how can I care for myself right now?”
Self-compassion is not self-pity. Self-pity is a “poor me, I’m struggling so much and I’m so alone” attitude. Self-compassion is an attitude of “no, I’m not perfect, but neither is anyone else… other people aren’t a horrible person when they make a mistake, and neither am I”.
Try taking a short, 4 minute self-compassion break right now!
If you want to talk more about how to make change in yourself and your relationships while also being flexible and compassionate towards yourself contact me to set up an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neff, K. & Gerner, C. (2018). The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.